25 Compelling Facts You Should Know About David Bowie

Posted by , Updated on November 27, 2022

Born on January 8, 1947, in Brixton, south London, David Bowie’s musical talent was clear from an early age. Despite starting his career by playing in local pubs and clubs, “The Thin White Duke” was meant to conquer the world of music entertainment through his phenomenal innovations and constant experimentation (he was the first artist to bring sci-fi elements into the music scene). His iconic androgynous appearance inspired numerous artists throughout the 1970s and ’80s, while Bowie’s impact at that time, as described by biographer David Buckley, challenged the core beliefs of the rock music of the day and created one of the biggest cults in popular culture. Always intriguing and controversial, Bowie enjoyed an illustrious career spanning six decades that saw him become one of the most successful entertainers of all time. With more than 140 million records sold worldwide, numerous awards—including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—and a musical legacy that will live forever, David Bowie left us just a few hours ago peacefully, surrounded by his family after an eighteen-month battle with cancer. So, the least we can do here at List25 is pay tribute to a musical genius and legend who made our world brighter with his music, lyrics, and image. These are 25 Compelling Facts You Should Know About David Bowie.


His first-ever release was “Liza Jane/Louie, Louie Go Home” in June 1964, under the name Davie Jones with The King Bees.

Liza Jane/Louie, Louie Go HomeSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

Bowie changed his real name (David Robert Jones) to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of The Monkees.

David Robert JonesSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

Bowie met his second wife—Somalian supermodel Iman—on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend.

Somalian supermodel ImanSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

American legend Bing Crosby, one of the biggest-selling artists of all time, recorded his last-ever single with Bowie. Their duet of “The Little Drummer Boy” was recorded for Christmas 1977 and would become a hit five years later, after Crosby’s death.

Bing CrosbySource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

Bowie is widely known as a musician but he was also an actor. His first leading role was as a stranded alien in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth. Actually, in a scene that was shot in a record store, a poster for Young Americans can clearly be seen hanging from the ceiling.

David Bowie actingSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

The Elephant Man, with Bowie in the title role, was a hit on Broadway in 1980.

The Elephant Man, with BowiSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

Before he become one of the biggest-selling male R&B singers of all time, Luther Vandross sang backup for Bowie’s 1975 album Young Americans.

Luther VandrossSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

He voiced the character of Lord Royal Highness in SpongeBob SquarePants in 2007.

Lord Royal HighnessSource: nme.com, Image: deviantart.com

Bowie was hit in the eye by a lollipop while on stage in Oslo, Norway, in 2004. In typical Bowie fashion, and despite his understandable initial anger, he made light of the incident and continued to sing.

LollipopSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

He suggested that his fans vote via phone for which tracks he should play for his 1990 world tour and “The Laughing Gnome” earned the most votes. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t play it.

PhoneSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

At the height of cocaine psychosis, Bowie was so disoriented and paranoid from drugs, he allegedly stored his urine in the refrigerator in case a wizard stole it. He also weighed about ninety-five pounds (at five feet ten) at the time.

WizardSource: nme.com, Image: flickr.com, Photo by Ishtaure Dawn

Bowie’s mid-seventies drug use wasn’t exactly joyous hedonism for him according to an interview he gave in 2000. There were times he would work so much that he wouldn’t get sleep for days so he used drugs for energy.

BedSource: nme.com, Image: flickr.com, Photo by elias quezada

David Bowie portrayed the great Nicola Tesla in the 2006 film The Prestige, starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale.

David Bowie as Nikola TeslaSource: nme.com, Image: movpins.com

“Space Oddity” was Bowie’s first UK hit and introduced him to the masses. This classic track was used by the BBC in its coverage of the moon landing in 1969.

Space Walk on the moonSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

His son from his first marriage with Angie Bowie is the famous director Duncan Jones who made the sci-fi classic Moon (2009). Duncan was his father’s best man at his second wedding to Iman.

Duncan JonesSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

A fake Twitter account was set up in Bowie’s name in January 2009. Despite it only ever having featured one tweet the account managed to collect over forty-one thousand followers.

TwitterSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

“TCV15,” from the Station to Station album, was inspired by a dream in which Iggy Pop saw his girlfriend eaten by a TV set.

TCV15Source: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

Bowie got the idea for his Ziggy Stardust persona after a chance encounter in London’s Carnaby Street with washed-up pop star and acid freak Vince Taylor. Interestingly, the album cover was shot just around the corner on Haddon Street.

Ziggy StardustSource: nme.com, Image: deviantart.com by aeorkay

Bowie was offered a knighthood by the Queen in 2003, but turned it down. He told The Sun, “I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don’t know what it’s for. It’s not what I spent my life working for.”

The Queen Of EnglandSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

In 1970 when Bowie briefly formed The Hype (originally called Harry the Butcher and then David Bowie’s Imagination), everyone in the band dressed up as superheroes. They were ridiculed and booed out of everywhere they played, literally.

Super HeroesSource: nme.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Contrary to popular belief, David Bowie’s eyes were not two different colors. They only appeared so because one eye had a permanently dilated pupil, the result of a fight.

David Bowie’s eyesSource: nme.com, Image: flickr.com, Photo by Stephen Luff

Blackstar, Bowie’s twenty-fifth and final studio album, was released through his ISO Records label on January 8, 2016, his sixty-ninth birthday, and two days before his death.

Blackstar, Bowie’s twenty-fifth and final studio albumSource: nme.com, Image: radio.com

Always ahead of his time, Bowie was the first musician to take advantage of the Internet when it started to take off. In 1997 he released the single “Telling Lies” online only.

The InternetSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

Even though an Englishman, he had an extreme tea phobia due to a “horrible incident” (as he described it) with a cup of tea when he was five. After this incident he never drank tea again.

English TeaSource: nme.com, Image: Wikipedia

Bowie’s older, schizophrenic half brother Terry killed himself in 1985. He was the inspiration for many of Bowie’s songs including “Aladdin Sane,” “All the Madmen,” “The Bewlay Brothers,” and “Jump They Say.”

David Bowie and BrotherSource: nme.com, Image: davidbowienews.com

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